How to Make a Portable Design Wall
No doubt, a quilt maker needs a big space to lay out the quilt top, configure the design of it. Or at least big enough that we need to be able to step back and away from the piece to get a feel for the whole design. Trying to do this on a horizontal surface (dining room table, bed, floor) can work, but soon enough it gets old. In comes the portable design wall to the rescue!
In all my quilt patterns, I talk about making a portable design wall that can save you a lot of headache and give you more design freedom when you’re making a quilt. Even if you’re only making one quilt, these design boards/walls are useful beyond just quilt making. In my faux bois classes, we often put the finished pillow front up on the design wall and step back to fully take in the stitching lines we’ve made and decide if we want more.
What is a design wall? Maybe you remember those felt boards that teachers used to use in Kindergarten and Preschool, they would put shapes up on the felt board and they just stuck. Remember? We are essentially making a preschool felt board, this time for our quilt squares.
I have a full wall in my studio covered in flannel fabric, but I also have a few portable design walls so I can have multiple projects going on at the same time. the portable ones, like the one in the below photo, start with a large piece of foam core. (I bought this one at Office Max, it measures 40″ x 60″). I covered one side of it with a thrifted flannel sheet, but you could use flannel, felt, or quilt batting, all will hold up patchwork.
I taped the flannel on the back with strong tape. Not pretty, but I never see this side.
These boards work great. I have two of them, so if I’m working on a big design I can place them side by side. They can also be taped together at the seam and fold in half when stored.
It allows you to lay out your design, play with it, and really step away from to get a better look. This is so important in quilt making. Try it and see the difference!